SARS-CoV-2 Can Spread Rapidly in Homeless Shelters


HealthDay News – Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome can spread rapidly in homeless shelters. This emerges from two studies published in the early release of the April 22nd Weekly Report of the US Centers for the Control and Prevention of Morbidity and Mortality.

Farrell A. Tobolowsky, DO, of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues offered tests for SARS-CoV-2 to residents and staff in three homeless shelters from March 30 to April 1, 2020 after notification of a confirmed COVID-19 case in one of the shelters. The researchers found that 10.5 percent of the 181 people tested were positive (15 residents and four employees). Repeat tests were conducted from April 7th to 8th; More cases were identified after residents and staff sought medical care. COVID-19 was diagnosed in 35 of 195 residents and eight of a total of 38 employees (18 and 21 percent, respectively).

Emily Mosites, Ph.D., of the CDC COVID-19 Emergency Response, and colleagues performed SARS-CoV-2 tests in five homeless shelters (one in Boston, one in San Francisco, three in Seattle) where COVID- Clusters had occurred in -19, in 12 shelters in Seattle where one case each had been identified and in two shelters in Atlanta where no known cases had been reported. The researchers found that after identifying a cluster, a high proportion of residents and employees had positive test results (17 and 17 percent in Seattle, 36 and 30 percent in Boston, and 66 and 16 percent in San Francisco, respectively), while the prevalence increased the infection rate was low in Seattle animal shelters (5 and 1 percent, respectively) and in Atlanta animal shelters (4 and 2 percent, respectively).

“Testing everyone can help isolate the infected to minimize ongoing transmission in these environments,” write Mosites and colleagues.

Abstract / full text – Tobolowsky

Abstract / full text – Mosites


COVID19 medical policy



Robert Dunfee